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Friday, February 01, 2013

How to Care for Introverts

When I see photos with quotes or sayings on Facebook I scroll past them. I guess it’s part of my personality. I’d rather hear what the person who is posting the photo has to say. 

But one particular graphic continues to make its way into my newsfeed and I eventually read it. It’s entitled “How to Care for Introverts.” As an introvert, I want to talk about this.

1. Respect their need for privacy.

I don’t think my introversion makes me need anybody to respect my privacy any more than the average person. In fact, once I get to know you, I’m probably more open regarding my privacy than the average person. Maybe those who know me would disagree. If so, I’d be interested in hearing their take.

2. Never embarrass them in public.

Does anybody like to be embarrassed in public?

3. Let them observe first in new situations.

Totally agree. Don’t ask me to participate in something I don’t fully understand.

4. Give them time to think, don’t demand instant answers.

While I have an instant opinion, I don’t always trust it. I need time to process before I can give you a real answer.

5. Don’t interrupt them.

This doesn’t bother me. People interrupt each other in conversation.

6. Give them advance notice of expected changes in their lives.

Seems like a common courtesy.

7. Give them 15 minute warnings to finish whatever they are doing.

This is why I’m an email person, or at least a text before you call person. I charge clients by the hour, which means I track everything I do with a timer. Unexpected phone calls require me to clock out of the job I’m working on so I can pick up the phone. The problem with that is, it’s hard for me to pick up where I left off after the phone call. My flow is gone and I have to try to find it. So yeah, a 15-minute warning is nice.

8. Reprimand them privately.

Does anybody like to be reprimanded publicly?

9. Teach them new skills privately.

Not true for me. I’d rather learn a new skill in a classroom environment. I don’t feel like I’m on the spot as much, and it gives me more time to process what I’m learning.

10. Enable them to find one best friend who has similar interests and abilities.

I don’t understand this one. How does one “enable” someone else to find a best friend? Don’t we naturally gravitate toward people of similar interests? And my best friend doesn’t need to have similar abilities.

11. Don’t push them to make lots of friends.

I don’t understand this one either. If it simply said, “Don’t push them,” I would get it. I hate being pushed. But why would anybody push someone to make lots, or fewer, friends?

12. Respect their introversion, don’t try to remake them into extroverts.

A good rule of thumb for any personality type.


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